The Neanderthals. Modern humans once lived side by side with this extinct human species. Now we, the Homo sapiens, are the only ones who still inhabit this globe. But Neanderthal DNA is still nestled within our own. how many percent of Neanderthals wijare we actually made of?
The first great apes
Let’s grab our time machine. We rewind about ten million years. Then the first great apes in Africa began to walk upright with both legs. Since then, the genus of hominids, also called Homo , has branched out further and further into other human species. This also included the Homo neanderthalensis. Where Neanderthal disaster struck 39,000 years ago, modern humans have been able to evolve to where they are today.
The “out-of-Africa” model
According to scientists, there are different scenarios for the spread of modern humans. The theory with the most supporters is the “out-of-Africa” model. This states that modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 ago. About 100,000 years later, this group traveled to other parts of the world. At about the same time, modern humans’ sister, Neanderthal, lived in Europe.
Our genes don’t lie
Was there a meeting? It should, because our genes don’t lie. We know that about 50,000 years ago, the two human species had offspring together. Only in this way could Neanderthal DNA secure a place in the DNA of modern humans.
Whether that meeting was really that nice is another story. The smaller group of Neanderthals could not compete with the larger and stronger group of modern humans. The Neanderthals slowly died out. The mixture of genes of both groups shifted more and more to that of modern humans. Even to such an extent that almost none of those Neanderthal genes are left today.
One to three percent Neanderthal DNA
Almost nothing? What exactly does that mean? Science has shown that almost all humans who are not originally from Africa contain Neanderthal DNA. About between one and three percent of the total package of genes we currently possess. That would mean that one of your grandfathers or mothers, in a very distant past, was not a “normal” person. He or she was a Neanderthal.
A scientific article in Scientific Reports even showed that someone with more Neanderthal variants, has a skull shape that more closely resembles that of the Neanderthal. In that case, the skull would be slightly elongated.
What percent Neanderthal do you contain?
Whether we can speak of the Neanderthal as man’s repressed sister is up to you to decide. What we can say in principle is that the Neanderthal still lives on in us. Find out how many Neanderthal variants you have by ordering one of our DNA tests!